My name is Ciara, and I’m a 25 year old, Boston-born, Irish girl living in Dublin, Ireland. Since I’ve taken the step to start a blog to share my passions with you guys, I figured I had better tell you a little bit about me, and what inspired me to start ‘The Irish Balance.’ This will be a very simple, easy blog – I’ve decided to do it because I know I’ll enjoy it, but mostly because I want to share my passion for fitness and nutrition, and explore how we can use those things to lead balanced, healthy, long lives.
My journey with, and love of, all things fitness, nutrition and health began a long time ago, and like many before me, it began as something of an obsession, one you might say wasn’t exactly balanced in its own right. I’ve always loved and played many sports, including basketball, camogie, athletics, swimming, volleyball and Gaelic football. Being active was naturally a part of my life, and really I never thought twice about what I ate. Luckily my parents always made sure us kids ate a varied diet, and enjoyed treats too. But one summer, when I was about 17, I decided I would try to learn a bit more about food, and specifically about what I deemed ‘healthy food’ based on my research.
To cut a long story short, ‘learning’ became obsessing, and I became a bit silly about it all for a while. I had learnt a LOT about nutrition and while that’s a positive thing, I became too single-minded about it. I continued to play the sports I loved, but I also cut out a lot of foods I deemed ‘bad’ (to give you an idea, this included MILK at one stage, which shows how ridiculous it all was). As a result, I of course lost weight I didn’t need to, and had to re-learn how to re-structure my thinking about food from black and white (i.e. good and bad) to fifty shades of grey (a.k.a. chilling out big time). This was a LOT easier said than done, and some days I’m better at this than others.
When I got to the end of secondary school and it was time to think about college, I decided to pursue medicine, to combine my love of science and health with a career that allowed me to work with and help people everyday. I spent a year studying Human Nutrition and Dietetics, before starting a five year medical degree. In short, college was an absolutely amazing experience, and really shaped who I am today. I couldn’t have loved it more.
I began working as a doctor in July 2015. I’ll never forget how insanely nervous I was that day! I love what I do, and I am so happy I choose the right career for me. Its tough, its intense, its stressful, yes – but its also so exciting, rewarding, and so, so motivating. I wake up excited to go to work (neeeaarly) everyday, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m not fully decided on my specialty yet, but whatever it is, I want it to involve working on how we can use food as part of our medicine, to help us lead longer, healthier lives.
The latter years of college made it hard to commit to my old team sports, and so I started training myself in my fourth and fifth years of my medical degree. I combined running, HIIT workouts and basic gym work, but was pretty ignorant of resistance training until I started working as a doctor.
I began to incorporate weight lifting into my workouts about 18 months ago, and I have never looked back. I joined the gym beside the hospital I was working in, and began to work on a simple goal of getting stronger while maintaining my cardiovascular fitness. I love to workout and challenge myself everyday, and the other side of that is that I have to work really really hard on nourishing myself properly too. The unpredictable side of my job means I find I have to ‘meal-prep’ a LOT to try to meet this goal. Its a balance I’m working on everyday, and its how I began to develop and use new recipes regularly.
A good friend recommended Instagram to me just over a year ago, around the time I was starting to focus on strength training, as something she thought I’d like. She suggested I try it out, to follow accounts for workout and recipe ideas, and also to share my own recipes and goals. Instantly I was hooked, and I’ve been posting on a pretty much daily basis ever since. I love sharing my own foodie finds, recipes, and workouts, and of course I find it’s a complete gem for fresh inspiration for those things too. Its my favourite social media outlet – you follow who you want to, you interact with people with similar interests and goals, and it motivates me to try so many new things – recipes, workouts, travel, you name it.
Deciding to start my own blog is something I’ve been thinking about as I’ve become more active on Instagram. I’ve called it The Irish Balance because at the heart of it all, that’s what I’m striving towards everyday – balance between health, nutrition, fitness and most importantly, simply just living and enjoying life itself.